A new study has revealed that clinical trials for type 2 diabetes are much more focused on drugs to treat the disease than finding ways to prevent it.
The research published in the journal Diabetologia found that just 10% of the 2,484 interventional trials for type 2 diabetes registered with ClinicalTrials.gov between 2007 and 2010 explored preventive measures for type 2 diabetes, while three-quarters focused on diabetes treatment.
Dr. Jennifer Gree, associate professor at Duke University School of Medicine in North Carolina, and her colleagues analysed data from the diabetes-related trials and found that nearly two-thirds (66%) of the treatment programmes focused primarily on drug therapies, while 12% focused on behavioural changes.
Their findings also showed that less than 1% of trials specifically focused on people aged 65 and above while 31% excluded older adults altogether, despite people in this age group being at greatest risk of type 2 diabetes and its complications . Similarly, just 4% of the trials were aimed at people aged 18 and younger, despite growing rates of type 2 diabetes among children and teenagers.
In addition, most of the studies (91%) were of short duration and involved small numbers of participants at a limited number of sites.
“The majority of the current clinical trials for type 2 diabetes are problematic for many reasons, including the fact that they include small numbers of participants, exclude those at extremes of age, are of short duration, and involve drug therapy rather than preventive or non-drug interventions,” Dr Green commented.
“If we can prevent the development of diabetes in a significant number of individuals, that should theoretically reduce healthcare costs and minimise the likelihood that those people develop diabetes-related complications in the future,” she added.

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